Zack Snyder’s epic graphic novel adaptation Watchmen is getting just a little bit less epic. Sci-Fi Wire has learned that the current length of the film is at two hours and 35 minutes. This is shorter than the previous length of nearly three hours.
Fans needn’t worry about Snyder compromising his vision of the film with the shorter length. He has also promised two extended versions will make their way to DVD. The first will be a three hour, ten minute director’s cut, which Snyder promises will have “even more than the theatrical version as far as the detail that gets even closer to the graphic novel.” The second version will take the director’s cut and incorporate an additional 30 minutes of animation adapting Watchmen’s comic-within-a-comic Tales Of The Black Freighter. “So there’s a huge epic version of Watchmen, which will probably come out after the movie’s theatrical release, for hardcore [fans].”
I suppose it is safe to assume that this planned multi-version approach to the film was perhaps inspired by the success Warner Brothers subsidiary New Line Films had with the theatrical version and extended version DVD releases of Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings films. But even though these extended versions will eventually be available on Blu-Ray, it seems a shame that we can’t experience them in a true theatrical setting. Peter Sciretta over at SlashFilm suggests that perhaps Warners could digitally distribute an extended version to theaters equipped for digital projection once the film’s regular run is over as a special event. I think that’s a great idea and recalls the old road show engagements studios would have for their big event films.